Rutherford recipient will lead research into post-pancreatitis diabetes

12 October 2017
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Max Petrov and the COSMOS research group

The University of Auckland’s Dr Max Petrov, an expert in diseases of the pancreas, metabolism, and nutrition, has been awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowship to research post-pancreatitis diabetes.

Dr Petrov, of the University’s Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, says the government’s investment of $800,000 over five years is a testimony to the calibre of his research group and the impact of its burgeoning research programme. The funding will help his group to continue the world-class research into metabolic derangements associated with inflammatory diseases of the pancreas, with a particular focus on the multi-faceted problem of diabetes.

“Diabetes is not a single disease but is rather a disparate constellation of disorders, with high blood sugar as a common manifestation. Diabetes following inflammatory diseases of the pancreas - post-pancreatitis diabetes - is a type of diabetes that currently affects as many as 10,000 Kiwis and its frequency is expected to rise due to population ageing,” Dr Petrov says.

“That is why it is critical to understand the intricate metabolic pathways involved in the development of post-pancreatitis diabetes.”

With his research, titled ’Deciphering the metabolic pathways underlying post-pancreatitis diabetes’, Dr Petrov will lead the field by investigating the mechanisms by which pancreatitis results in derangements of sugar metabolism. In doing so, his team will identify key regulatory peptides that could be targeted with a view to developing early pathogenetic treatments and prevention strategies.

Dr Petrov is based in the Faculty’s School of Medicine. Head of the School, Professor Alan Merry, appointed him as a Senior Lecturer and shortly afterwards Dr Petrov established an independent research group, called COSMOS. His group is recognised nationally and internationally for cutting-edge research into diseases of the exocrine and endocrine pancreas (more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, 50 invited talks, and $3 million in competitive research funding). Further, COSMOS is the premier provider of translational, clinical, and epidemiological research training in the field at the University. Dr Petrov has assembled a high-performing team that allows optimal supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students and enables them to reach their potential. COSMOS invariably publishes at least 12 articles per year in international peer-reviewed journals and consistently produces 3-4 Masters or PhDs per year.


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